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91 Infantry Brigade

In February 2009 the Indian Army re-raised 91 Infantry Brigade in amphibious role comprising of 3 infantry Bns and a strength of 3,000 personnel. The soldiers have been drawn from the Sikh, Gorkhas and Madras regiments. The amphibious brigade of the army had been undergoing training for over a year at Thiruvananthapuram and was formally launched by the defence minister A.K. Antony. The new amphibious brigade, is modelled on the lines of the Indian Navy's marine commandos and specialising in land and marine warfare. Experts see it as a necessary adjunct to meet India's security challenges.

While expeditionary forces can be airborne or seaborne this is the first time that the Indian Army has raised a sea-based force large enough to be considered as an expeditionary force. So far, an infantry battalion had been undertaking such amphibious responsibilities on transfer to the tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The first effort to create a dedicated force was mooted by the naval headquarters as it prepared to acquire the landing platform dock, the INS Jalashva, earlier the USS Trenton, in 2007. By exporting the Trenton to the Indian Navy, the Pentagon transferred not only a warship but also the whole idea of expeditionary warfare that the Indian military had so far been chary about.

Kerala is home to the country's first amphibious brigade. Initially, there were two battalions and one brigade stationed in the heart of the city in a campus of around 450 acres. One battalion, due to lack of space, was stationed in Bangalore. There were 3,000 personnel, and with the announcement to convert this into an amphibious brigade which took place early in 2009 in Delhi, the strength would go up to 5,000 personnel. Another 500 acres was promised to the brigade for the campus. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for a long time had been tempting officials by promising more than 3,000 acres of land for the amphibious brigade, but by 2008 it was certain that he brigade would be in Kerala.

In 2008 India unveiled the joint doctrine for its amphibious operations. The doctrine is meant to serve as a guideline on how the armed forces intend to plan and conduct amphibious operations and achieve full synergistic effect of joint combat power.

Amphibious warfare is the utilisation of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to send troops ashore. A well-planned and executed amphibious operation - basically a tri-service operation launched from the sea by carrying soldiers and their weaponry on a ship and affecting a landing on enemy shore - could change the course of a war. In the modern era, amphibious warfare persists in the form of commando insertion by fast patrol boats and mini submersibles. In modern warfare, an amphibious landing of infantry troops on a beach is the most complex of all military manouvers. The undertaking requires coordination of numerous military specialities, including air power, naval gunfire, naval transport, logistical planning, specialised equipment, land warfare, tactics and extensive training in the nuances of this manoeuvre for all personnel involved.

Dedicated ships and aircraft would be needed to make the amphibious brigade fully operational. Amphibious warfare is the utilisation of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to send troops ashore. In the modern era, amphibious warfare persists in the form of commando insertion by fast patrol boats and mini submersibles. In modern warfare, an amphibious landing of infantry troops on a beach is the most complex of all military manoevers. The undertaking requires coordination of numerous military specialities, including air power, naval gunfire, naval transport, logistical planning, specialised equipment, land warfare, tactics and extensive training in the nuances of this maneuver for all personnel involved. A well-planned and executed amphibious operation - basically a tri-service operation launched from the sea by carrying soldiers and their weaponry on a ship and affecting a landing on enemy shore - could change the course of a war.

In February 2009 the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force jointly conducted the largest ever amphibious exercise codenamed "EXERCISE TROPEX-2009" at Madhavpur beach in Gujarat. The amphibious landing, the most complex of all military manoeuvres involving coordination and synergy from conceptualization to planning and final execution, was ably demonstrated on the shores of Madhavpur. The pre-assault operations of planning, mobilization and embarkation having been achieved at Karwar, the amphibious task force sailed from Karwar on 05 February 2009 and landed on the shores of Madhavpur 09 February 2009 using the newly inducted Landing Platform Dock (LPD) INS Jalashwa, several Landing Ship Tank Large {LST(L)}, fleet ships with their integral helicopters, shore-based aircraft and submarines from the Indian Navy and hovercraft of the Coast Guard. This is the first time the joint doctrine on amphibious warfare of the Indian Armed Forces which was formulated last year was put into practice with its full scope. Tanks, armored personnel carriers and Infantry troops of 91 Infantry Brigade of the Sudarshan Chakra Corps participated in both stand-off and hard beaching modes.



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